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EPrints for EPSRC Data Management

From: RepositoryMan17 April 2015 | 12:10 pm

The following simple Research Data Management advice has just been set around my institution for staff publishing papers to satisfy the new EPSRC data mandate. Although each institution will provision research data differently, it was great to see all the work that has been done over the last few years distilled into a simple set of instructions that even professors can understand!

  1. Write the paper
  2. Login to EPrints
  3. Go in to manage deposits
  4. Click on the Add New Data Set button
  5. Upload an Excel spreadsheet with the data in from the paper
  6. Fill in as many of the questions as you can, making sure you describe what the data corresponds to in the paper (e.g. Fig 1 etc…)
  7. You can link it to the grant that funded it (these should be in the system already)
  8. In the options for the upload I made the data “visible to registered users only” and embargoed it until the end of the year with “publication pending” as the reason.
  9. Email to get a DOI - the repository team will check what you’ve entered at the same time.
  10. Write  the following in the acknowledgements of the paper, "The data for this paper can be found at doi:10.the/DOI/you.received.above"
  11. Submit paper
  12. When the paper is accepted, make visible to all, remove embargoes, and link it to a copy of the paper that has been uploaded onto the system.

Southampton's repository has an extended set of metadata fields to describe datasets that are part of the ReCollect EPrints Bazaar plugin that was developed by the UK Data Archive and the University of Essex, as part of the JISC MRD Research Data @Essex project.

The Basics of Scholarly Communications in the UK

From: RepositoryMan31 January 2013 | 3:42 am

In the decade since the Budapest Open Access Initiative declared a new public good, there have been many expositions of the advantage and inevitability of Open Access and its consequences for new modes of scientific enquiry. Tony Hey (who has just claim to 'first cause' of UK open access in his position of Head of Electronics and Computer Science at the University of Southampton)  has recently started a series of blog posts A Journey to Open Access that gives a very accessible introduction to the topic. Stevan Harnad (who was given a chair in ECS by the same Tony Hey) also blogs extensively at Open Access Archivangelism.

In my lesser role of championing repositories and developing the capabilities of the EPrints platform, I have had the privilege of working with library and information professionals to try to explain the principles of Open Access to a broad range of academics and researchers, and I have been struck by the almost total lack of understanding of the UK scholarly communication infrastructure shown by my research colleagues.

To help those who have been too busy writing papers to appreciate how those papers appear and now find themselves über-confused and offended by the Finch regime, I offer the following diagram as an introduction to Everything You Need To Know on the topic. Forget the dissemination of papers and the transfer of knowledge that form the scholarly publishing cycle, this is all about influence and power.
Publishing companies have pushed governments towards Gold Open Access (more money for publishers) and pulled universities away from Green Open Access (no-cost parallel dissemination).  Researchers themselves have sided with publishing companies and learned societies (who act like sub-branches of publishing companies) to try to maintain the stability of the publishing industry, irrespective of the health of the university sector on which it depends!

Consequently, we now have a government proposal (the Finch report) to pay publishers twice! Once to make UK research open access whilst still retaining subscription access to the non-UK material. It's a kind of Westminster Open Access Initiative stating that an old tradition of scholarly publishing and a new technology of the Web have converged to make possible an unprecedented injection of public cash for publishers

The only reasonable way forward is for researchers to take the initiative, and to show the kind of academic leadership that Professors Hey and Harnad demonstrated a decade ago - to start being proactive in their own scholarly communications. The easiest way to do that is to start using the existing repository infrastructure provided by their universities and supported by their libraries. 

Researchers already hold all the cards, they don't need to be held to ransom in this Finchian standoff. They are the producers and consumers and quality control agents that create every aspect of the literature, they are also the community that defines its own criteria for professional advancement and assessment. Everything they think that they depend on the publishing industry for, they can actually achieve for themselves.

Repository Twitter Training

From: RepositoryMan29 November 2012 | 11:04 am

In a previous post I reported on using EPrints to gather data from Twitter in order to support researchers  in the social sciences, particularly those looking for evidence of social processes or for the impact of the Web on society. The work was also reported at OR2012 in Edinburgh in a paper Microblogging Macrochallenges for Repositories that described the work involved in adapting EPrints to support this task.

Having got some more experience from running a pilot service at Southampton, we would like to invite anyone from the repository community who is interested in this work to join in a training session at the University on Tuesday 11th December from 1-3pm (buffet lunch included).

The first hour will focus on using the service: how to harvest twitter streams, how to monitor the harvesting process, how use the repository tools to analyse the collection of tweets, how to export the data to other visualisation and analysis services and how to deposit the analysed data in an institutional repository.

The second hour will discuss the management of the service itself: how to install twitter-harvesting functionality using the EPrints Bazaar, how manage the functionality, how to integrate it with your institutions other repository services and consideration for the licensing and ethical restrictions on gathering and using Twitter data.

If you are interested in attending or finding out more information, please email me,

Repositories, Theses and Graduation Ceremonies

From: RepositoryMan12 November 2012 | 2:16 pm

I was attending my son's graduation ceremony at Bournemouth University last week. While waiting for his turn, the title of a graduating student's PhD thesis was read out. It caught my attention (it was about TV production on Dr Who) and so I slipped out my iPhone, googled the student's surname, a word from the title and the name of the university and found the thesis available in the Bournemouth Institutional Repository (first result). I was able to download and start skimreading the PDF before the student had returned to his seat .

It's difficult to express what a genuinely exciting experience this was - it felt like I had arrived in the future! This is a repository use case that I had never thought of, and everything just worked.

Congratulations to Bournemouth's repository team on the hard work they have put in to making the experience join up. Also, congrats to Andrew Ireland on a really interesting thesis!

 PS Universities really should consider letting graduation audiences see some of the really impressive work that their students have done. Perhaps an onstage projection of a poster from their final dissertation while they walk across the stage?